FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Staff Contact:

Andrea J. Burney, APR

Director of  Public Relations

“ON-RAMP PROGRAM" HELPS DISLOCATED WORKERS SHARPEN SKILLS

 

DCC On Ramp Program

Marlene Seamster (right), Danville Community College (DCC)’s On Ramp Coordinator, assists Darlene Bray, an On Ramp program grant recipient, with her studies in Marketing in a classroom of DCC’s Regional Center for Advanced Technology and Training. On Ramp is a federally-funded program that assists dislocated workers with education-related expenses, such as tuition and books.

DDANVILLE, VA, October 1, 2014 – Dislocated workers enrolling this year in classes at Danville Community College (DCC) to sharpen their skills will get the financial help they need, thanks to a $101,937 grant from Workforce Investment Act (WIA) in support of the “On Ramp? Program. The College has received annual On Ramp funding since the program was established by the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) in 2010.

 

“On Ramp Grant helps dislocated workers enter a DCC training program that will help them return to the workforce,? said Marlene Seamster, DCC’s On Ramp Coordinator. “The funds can be used to pay for tuition and books associated with the training, and do not have to be paid back by the student.?

Since the On Ramp program began, 176 dislocated workers have received grant funding to take DCC classes. On Ramp funds cover student aid for both credit and non-credit courses, wages for program personnel, and outreach and support activities. Seamster said DCC has been awarded a total of $559,078 in On Ramp funding over the past five years, with the actual funding amount varying from year to year.

On Ramp funding steps in to help individuals who otherwise would not qualify for federal assistance to enroll in training courses. Dislocated workers Dislocated Workers are eligible workers who have been laid off through no fault of their own, have received an upcoming layoff notice, are displaced homemakers or caretakers, owners of a failed small business, those who are/have been eligible for unemployment insurance, and Transitioning Service Members (recently separated veterans).

In addition to being classified as a dislocated worker, to be eligible for the program, participants must:
• Be 18 years of age or older
• Select a degree or certificate program of study at DCC that is linked to in demand employment opportunities based on local Labor Market Information
• Not already receiving a source of grant or scholarship funding that only covers tuition, fees, books, and supplies
• Complete the Financial Aid Eligibility process
• Complete the Admissions process to Danville Community College
• Complete the On Ramp Grant Program Intake process

 

While the program provides financial assistance, On Ramp also provides assistance with career tools that help assess skill levels and interests; help with developing a career and training plan; information about the most in-demand career fields; information about employment resources and services; connection to academic resources; such as tutoring and learning resources; and referrals to other departments or agencies as appropriate for additional support. Examples of the programs and courses taken by past On Ramp recipients at DCC are the Nurse Aide certification program, Precision Machining Technology program, networking classes in the Information Systems Technology program, and the Alternative Energy Technology I and the Manufacturing Technician Career Studies programs.

 

On Ramp is offered at Virginia Community Colleges that serve regions with the highest unemployment rates or which have been impacted by a significant layoff event. In July 2014, the City of Danville had a 10 percent unemployment rate, compared to the statewide rate of 5.4 percent, according to statistics from the Virginia Employment Commission. Seamster said the community colleges’ retraining of dislocated workers undoubtedly play an important role in empowering dislocated workers to pursue a successful career rather than face an uncertain future.

 

“For some people, it has opened the door,? Seamster explained. “It opened the door to allow them to get the training to do something different… something that they might like better.?

 

For more information about applying for On Ramp assistance, contact Seamster at 434.797.6423, or click here.

 

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